Oh, Summer '16. You were the best.
I've been sitting here trying to decide if you WERE really the best, or if the last few summers have stunk so much, they're making you look better in comparison...
The summer of 2012 kind of stunk because we spent half of it grieving moving away from Sioux Falls, and especially our crazy Young Life crew. Oh, how we loved the Young Life season. We also were in the throes of house hunting in a very expensive market, and I was newly pregnant, so ALL THE HORMONES.
The summer of 2013 was spent worrying about our new (and first) baby who was sent home from a stay in the NICU with large areas of stroke on his brain and a prognosis that included paralysis and/or cerebral palsy. I think I spent most of that summer inside with the curtains drawn, as a mom zombie, crying my eyes out and failing at breastfeeding. Good times.
Half of '14 was spent inside, avoiding the heat like the plague because I was nine months pregnant with kiddo #2. At the time, Will was only 15 months himself, so the other half of the summer, I was keeping him from killing himself - you know, in eating rocks and running into the street and falling off our front stoop.
Let's see. '15, Charlotte was just walking, so summer was a little more fun, but still mostly revolved around keeping HER from not killing HERself in eating rocks and running into the street and falling off our front stoop, and there was that one time we tried camping. Not cool.
Okay, so I won't complain, Summer 2015 wasn't really that bad - but let me just say, when your children are 2 and 3 (like mine are this year) things change a bit.
1) Instead of following your kids' every movement, protecting them from gruesome accident or sudden death, they can kind of run around and scoot around on their bikes and play in the yard with the neighbors - get this - WHILE YOU OBSERVE. Like, I could sometimes drink my coffee, sitting down, and just WATCH them play. (This realization was comparable to the feeling I imagine I'd have in winning the Showcase Showdown at the Price is Right.)
2) They don't HAVE to nap. Granted, they need to nap 90% of the time, but if you decide you want to go have some special summery fun at the zoo, they can GO and HAVE FUN, even.
3) They are excitable and adventurous. They jump up and down at the mention of "the pool," every meltdown is cured with a Freezie Pop, they think it's fun to color on the sidewalk and squirt each other with water, they pretend and imagine and create and come up with crazy ideas...
With all of that said, we have turned a corner, people. 2016, you were just grand.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our very brilliant and hardworking Bucket List for inspiring so many fun activities. Thank you, BL, for holding us accountable to celebrate the little things and for getting us out a bit.
Some special summer bucket list highlights and memories include...
Our trip to the zoo! Charlotte sharing Jess's ice cream at Marty's wedding. A fun day at the Children's Museum. Doing an outdoor movie and having a Frozen dance party after. Lots of picnics and trips to the park. Lots and LOTS of screams down the slide. Playing with Grammy's kitties, and four-wheeler rides down the "hallways." A few trips to the pool. Hundreds of Freezie Pops. At least 73 fistfuls of dandelions and daisies. Playing dolls and ponies and cars and airplanes with the neighbor kids. Making our own Tropical Sno-cones! S'mores and campfires. Catching lightning bugs and camping in our backyard (a much better idea). Watching fireworks on our patio with Will. Charlotte's birthday party. GETTING A MINI-VAN, thank the Maker...
Jesus, You have been good to us. You were good all those other years, too, but today, I am especially aware. Thanks for a great summer. We needed it.